Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Enough with the manufactured outrage

Earlier today, right wing think tanks, the Republican Noise Machine, and well funded conservative groups tried their best to orchestrate a grand show of force against traditional American ideals and a number of progressive policy directions in selected cities across the United States.

The "tea parties", as they're known (I still haven't been able to figure out why the right wing decided to call them that - and apparently I'm not the only one) have been billed for days and weeks as a collective conservative grassroots uprising, but in reality, as progressive organizations like Media Matters for America have documented, they've been anything but.

The "tea parties" are actually nothing more than a bunch of top down protests that have been heavily advertised by deep pocketed right wing interests.

Among the instigators of the "tea parties"? Fox Noise Channel (which aired at least twenty segments and seventy three promos of the events in merely eight days), Newt Gingrich's "American Solutions", and Dick Armey's FreedomWorks. Local instigators include the Evergreen Freedom Foundation and perennial Jim McDermott challenger Steve Beren, plus the cast and crew of KVI AM.

Our favorite nemesis Tim Eyman also sent out an email hyping the events to the media and his small band of supporters.

Northwest Progressive Institute Outreach & Advocacy Director Rick Hegdahl went to one of the "tea parties" today and found conservatives standing on the steps of Bellevue City Hall holding signs that read "No Socialism", "Return to Reagannomics" (with two n's!) and "Stop Terrorists - Vote Them Out."

(You can see some of his photos on In Brief).

Predictably, the Associated Press joined the Republican Noise Machine in giving the "tea parties" heavy coverage (guess they didn't have anything better to do on Tax Day) and of course right wing bloggers like Michelle Malkin have simply been besides themselves for the last twenty four hours.

Amusingly, although the protests were backed by moneyed right wing interests, they inevitably ended up attracting an eclectic sampling of the extreme right wing fringe - because those are the only folks who really agree with the divisive rhetoric Republican leaders and conservative talking heads are spouting these days.

And that fringe had a hard time sticking to one message. The tea parties thus turned into an anti-Obama, anti-tax, anti-stimulus, anti-Employee Free Choice Act, anti-cap and trade, anti-representative democracy, anti-you name it, we're using these events to hate on it protest.

In Olympia, even the Lyndon LaRouche gang showed up, much to the dismay of some of the conservatives who came to listen to speeches from a hotheaded Janea Holmquist, Tim Eyman, and the CEO of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation.

We'll admit the "tea parties" have been mildly entertaining, but we're so used to hearing the far right wing rail against President Obama and the progressive direction America is heading in these days that that today's "tea parties" sounded more like a wild cacophony of screeching and whining than a coherent protest.

Enough with the manufactured outrage. Enough with the baseless attacks on President Obama's patriotism and on the majority of Americans who elected him. Our country doesn't benefit from the toxic venom that righties are spewing.

Unlike our criticisms of George W. Bush, there's nothing legitimate about the incredibly awful things they are saying about President Obama.

Sure, they've got every right to say it, but that doesn't mean their hate speech needs to be given so much attention. Exposure's not a bad thing, but this nonsense shouldn't be dominating our airwaves.

You pretty much have to pity some of these people. Like the one who was asked by a CNN anchor why he thinks President Obama is a fascist. All the guy could do was repeat himself. He didn't have an answer. He, like other righties, has simply convinced himself that Barack Obama is a tyrannical evil mastermind without even the specter of an argument to back up that ridiculous accusation.

If these vocal righties truly despise our government and our tradition of majority rule with minority rights this much - if they truly believe what they're saying - then why don't they just pack up and leave? No one is forcing them to live here.

If they feel like Barack Obama is some personal threat to them, they can renounce their U.S. citizenship and go somewhere else. The world's a big place.

Or they can stay here and benefit from Barack Obama's policies.

It's their choice.

But if they stay in the United States, they're going to have to accept that America has, is, and will be a country with a mixed economy - a hybrid combining the best aspects of socialism and capitalism. That's because democracy cannot flourish under either economic system on its own.

Progressives have long appreciated that. It would really be something if conservatives woke up and realized it too. But we're not holding our breath.


OpenID Piper Scott said...

If this isn't the biggest wad of drivel written since the beginning of time, I'm hard pressed to thing of a bigger wad.

I was at the Olympia rally, and I'm here to tell you that it was pure grassroots in action. Ordinary citizens and taxpayers out to let the morons in the legislature know that spending is out of control, taxes are too high, and government works for them, not the other way around.

Andrew, old boy, it's pretty obvious you write of things of which you know not. And your astonishingly vapid generalizations on what the economy is or is not, or what it should be or should not be carry as much water as a sieve.

If anyone wants to read an honest and factual analysis of yesterday's events written by someone who bothered to go to one, try Don Ward's piece at The Daily Weekly. Here's a link:

Don nailed hit your thumb with the hammer...

We had, per Washington State Patrol estimates, 5,000 in attendance in Olympia. In Spokane at another rally organized by the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, 3,000 +++ attended, according to Spokane-area news reports.

Let's see you put on something and do better...

You can be derisive and condescending all you want - go ahead, make my day - but the Big Mo is on our side right now. Try climbing out of your Seattle -- oops, Redmond -- cocoon to mingle with working people, the people who attended the rallies - would be an eye-opener, to be sure.

The Piper

April 16, 2009 4:25 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

"Vapid and condescending" describes your own comments, Scott St. Clair.

This has to qualify as one of the silliest, most entertaining comments you've ever posted. I'm still chuckling as I type this response.

I've spent pretty much my entire political career working to help people who don't have any voice, and stopping faux right wing populism in its tracks.

I'm all too familiar with your talking points. I get to read them every week, thanks to the Capitol Press Corps' constant repetition of Tim Eyman's recycled talking points. And I hear them occasionally on the street too.

Last year, I stayed for an hour and a half in the parking lot of Kirkland's City Hall following a town hall meeting talking to a couple of conservatives (Dori Monson listeners, to boot) about a series of topics, from transportation to environmental protection to the common wealth. And that's just one example.

I've spent time with your kind, Scott. I don't know if you spend time hanging out with progressive activists, but it wouldn't surprise me if you didn't.

If you've been following what I've been doing at all this legislative session, you would have noticed I've been spending a very generous amount of my time fighting for working families - more specifically, Washington homeowners.

What do you do? Help distribute anti-government propoganda for the Evergreen Freedom Foundation? (As I recall, you accepted a gig with them.)

It is progressives who emphasize with working families, not conservatives, Scott. Conservatives like you give lip service to that idea sometimes. That's it.

Progressives want a government of the people, by the people, and for the people - a government that provides quality public services, a government that effectively takes care of things the private sector won't or can't do. And guess what? The majority of Americans agree. Because that's the American way.

The Republican Party, at one time, was progressive. It isn't anymore, and that's a shame. But progressivism lives on.

I can see that you wanted to sneer that I'm Seattle centric - but I don't live in Seattle, so instead you had to substitute in Redmond. Funny, isn't it, that Redmond and Kirkland are becoming such progressive towns, electing Democrats, voting down right wing ballot measures, turning away from your ideology.

You think the momentum is on your side, Scott? Fine, you go ahead and think that. I'll believe it when I see it. That's what you guys said after the 2006 midterm elections. You claimed that Republican losses were just a temporary setback.

But they weren't, as you well know. The 2008 elections were arguably even worse for you. People were swayed to vote for Barack Obama and Democrats because of Republican mismanagement of our economy. Deliberate mismanagement of our economy.

And now that Barack Obama has been at the helm for just a few months, and is governing progressively, you think people are angry about that?

They aren't, Scott. It's just you guys. You didn't vote for change anyway, so there's nothing for you to regret, except that your candidates didn't win.

Maybe that explains why you're so bitter.

What have you proved with your tea parties? Nothing except that there's a tiny minority of you out there who are mad, really mad. So we've heard. The Republican Noise Machine never turns off; we've been hearing this stuff since Inauguration Day, Scott. I seem to end up hearing it every night whether I want to or not.

There have historically always been protests around Tax Day - April 15th. So you, Fox Noise Channel, Dick Armey's crew, and Newt "I Spend Supporter Money on Private Planes for Myself" Gingrich ran with that and tried to amp up the volume as much as you could, managing to be as nasty as you could in the process. And you're proud of that?

You're proud of the tone you set?

I'm no fan of polling, but what polling has been done recently shows most Americans aren't outraged about taxes as your side claims. The people who showed up for yesterday's tea parties are the right wing fringe. These are not people who represent a bigger, broader constituency.

While progressive activists work to advance the public interest, you don't - because you don't even believe in a public interest. You belive in the private sector and privatization. That markets can take care of our every problem.

Yeah... that's worked out real well, hasn't it?

So whatever, Scott. You feel free to bluster, and try to project onto me all you want, imply that I am an elitist, even though I'm not part of the establishment and never have been. I'm an activist who was inspired to clamber down into the trenches because I was tired of hypocrites like Tim Eyman waging an all out assault on my community.

But to you and your side, I guess I'm a threat. If I wasn't, I'm not sure why you'd feel compelled to tell me that I don't know what I'm talking about.

April 16, 2009 5:28 PM  

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